Vera Anderson’s letters to her daughter reflect that although the war changes lives, the most important things continue. Grandmas wrote her last letter to her daughter Harriette five days ago, and it seems there is much family news to pass on in this letter written on a Wednesday. Illness, a musical interlude, a new baby coming, and a report to Harriette about the Christmas baked goods she sent back to Ohio from Iowa.
All her letters are addressed to both my parents–Harriette and Paul–but this one in particular answers Paul, who had written a letter to Vera and Guy. He apprently apologized for his terrible hand writing! I’m sure he was amused to hear grandma Vera’s description of his sister Irene, who worries when she doesn’t hear from him.
That is a metaphor that would come easily to grandma, since she always had some chickens in a coop in her backyard and was familiar with their behavior.
She mentions Paul’s exams. When he took the job in Iowa, he wrote to the college where he would be working and asked if he would be able to take some classes. He probably thought that finally he would be able to get the college degree that was cut short when he was 19. However, as I explained in the last post, the job did not last long.
It is cold season in Holmes County. She has been sick, 1/3 of the people didn’t show up for work, and Daddy Guy spent the night coughing. She says she took the day off because of his coughing, but apparently she did not bother to take time off when she was sick And even though it is a day off, she has plenty of work to do.
Yet, she is worried about her son Herbert’s long hours and doesn’t see how Harriette could make all those cookies and cakes for Christmas. (Even though the baking probaby was keeping my mother sane, since she was lonely in Iowa and desparately missed her teaching job.)
Apparently, Grandma has decided–or perhaps mother urged her–to open the Christmas package containing cookies and cake before Christmas. I wonder if Mother was making Mrs. Lanham’s fruitcake that year? I imagine she probably used the same recipe as Grandma used for Sugar Cookies. Whatever she baked was certainly appreciated, and grandma put some in her “pail”–her lunchbox and shared them at work. Remember because of war time and sugar was rationed.
Names mentioned regularly in these letters include:
Irene (Irene Kaser Bucklew, my father’s sister) and her husband Truman.
William (William J. Anderson, Vera’s son and my Uncle Bill); Sarah (Sarah Anderson, wife of my Uncle Bill who was sailing into the Pacific.) Sarah and their son Bob (a high school student in 1943) lived on the farm that once belonged to my great-grandfather, but later she moved in to town and lived in Grandma’s house.
Herbert (Herbert Guy Anderson, Vera’s son and my uncle.) His wife was Pauline, and his children who are sometimes mentioned are Sonny (Herbert Guy Anderson Jr. a high school student in 1943), Romona, JoAnn, Larry and Jimmy.
Maude (Vera’ sister, my great-aunt, who lived in Buffalo, New York)
Will and Jean (William Morgan Stout, Vera’s brother, my great-uncle, and his wife Jean. They lived in New York City)
A New Baby To Join the Family
In this letter, she also mentions Frank and Ruth Fair. Frank is Guy’s grandson through his first marriage and his daughter Rhema Anderson Fair–the handome pilot and his girl. They have some big news when they come to visit.